Use of ‘Nanotechnology’ to improve broiler health and meat quality

Written by The Frontier Post

Dr. Imad Khan & Prof. Dr. Hafsa Zaneb

Poultry production is a dynamic and well-organized sector in Pakistan contributing 1.3% to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 6.3% to agricultural sector and 28% to total meat production. Poultry meat is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals but has a low total fat content and higher unsaturated fatty acids; these features confer a beneficial effect on consumer health.
However, the poultry sector plays an important role in minimizing the difference between supply and demand of energy/proteins requirement for common people across the country. In poultry, feed, antibiotic growth promoters are used to enhance the production performance of birds but after the imposition of ban on antibiotics by the European Union, the researcher communities are focusing on safe, cheap, and alternative sources antibiotic growth promoters for maintaining the function of the gut and immune system of chicken.
Trace minerals have significant role in boosting the production performance and regulating the immune system in chickens. Trace minerals are commonly included in broiler feed within limitation of their narrow range between beneficial dose and toxicity. Nanomaterials are small size particles that provide large active surface area (emulsifier), expansible catalytic potency, more surface-active centers, and promising biological effects for both medication and nutrition. They are used in pharmaceuticals to surge the biological availability of drugs, transport-specific curative agents to specific organs, effectuate high uptake and showing greater absorption efficiencies.
In poultry feed, nano-selenium supplementation has several biological effects like promoting the production performance, improved feed conversion ratios (FCR), carcass characteristic and immunological activity in chickens. Selenium nanoparticles supplementation in broilers nutrition enhance the growth performance, maintain both the nutritional value and food quality by improving immune properties. Selenium is an important trace element exhibiting antiviral and antibacterial characteristics.
These health-promoting benefits of orally administered selenium nanoparticles can be further enhanced by loading them on biological carriers, which improves their stability and biological availability. Chitosan is a naturally occurring non-toxic, and biodegradable polysaccharide polymer derived from chitin. It can be used as a carrier to efficiently deliver the drugs and trace nano-minerals that otherwise have lower bioavailability in the gastrointestinal tract. Selenium nanoparticles can be loaded on the surface of chitosan thus producing the supplemental product (Selenium nanoparticles loaded to chitosan). This supplemental product has antioxidant activity, which has a significant impact on production performance, meat quality and biological activities.
Poultry industry facing great loss every year because of different type of stress. Birds are subjected to all kind of Stressor such as transportation, low and high environmental temperature, fasting, crowding, handling and diseases. The intestinal mucosal layer of epithelial cells that serves multiple functions including absorption of nutrients, secretion of enzymes and mucus and barrier function between internal and external environments. stress have negative effects and induced changes in intestinal permeability associated with redistribution of the tight junction.
Dexamethasone is synthetic form of glucocorticoid and its high levels in blood causes the immunosuppression, retard growth and induce oxidative stress. This experiment was planned to evaluate the effects of SeNPs-Loaded-COS on production performance, organs development, bone health, meat quality, and morphology of gut and immune organs in broilers reared under standard managemental conditions. Dietary SeNPs-loaded-COS play important role in mitigated the adverse outcomes of dexamethasone induce stress in chickens. Our research design consists of two experiments and performed at experimental poultry shed College of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan. Samples processing carried out in department of Anatomy and Histology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore.
Our finding indicates that selenium nanoparticles loaded to chitosan (SeNPs-loaded-COS) improved FCR, gut health and immune responses in broilers. Drip loss decreased and improved meat quality by increasing pH, muscle fascicles diameter and their cross-section area with SeNPs-loaded-COS supplementation. Selenium nanoparticles loaded to chitosan increased the bone weight, diaphysis diameter, medullary canal diameter and weight/length index. Serum catalase increased and decreased the cholesterol level with SeNPs-loaded-COS supplementation.
The second experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of selenium nanoparticles loaded to chitosan on production performance, mineral retention, development of gut, bone, muscle, and immune organs of broilers. The result showed that dexamethasone induces oxidative stress had negative effects on production performance (body weight, FCR). On day 28th during oxidative stress, dexamethasone showed negative effect on gut health.
It has also negative effect on meat quality by increasing drip loss and muscle fiber density. During recovery phase on day 35th, gut morphology was improved with SeNPs-loaded-COS supplementation. The dietary SeNP-loaded-COS improved pH, muscle fiber diameter and their cross-section area, muscle fascicles diameter and their cross-section area. Dietary supplementations improve the bone health and beneficial microflora of gut and decrease the Escherichia coli. Retention of selenium content due to SeNP-loaded-COS than the control. The cortisol level decreased, and catalase level improved with dietary supplementation. The current study showed that selenium nanoparticles loaded to chitosan partially improved the production performance, gut, bone, muscle and lymphoid organs morphology, immune status, and retention of mineral in broiler chicken under normal and dexamethasone induce stress.
Keeping in view the beneficial aspects of nanotechnology, I conducted an experiment under the kind guidance and supervision of Prof. Dr. Hafsa Zaneb, Chairperson, Department of Anatomy and Histology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore. We prepared the selenium nanoparticles loaded to chitosan and studied their effects by adding them into the broiler’s diet. We got very promising results especially in terms of an improvement in the attributes that indicates the meat quality. Hence, this research suggests that Selenium nanoparticles loaded to chitosan can be used in the broiler’s diet to get healthy meat.

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